Deaf Ears

So, ABS-CBN has just brought back “Princess Sarah” to its morning lineup as a replacement for the ageing rerun of Kuroko’s Basketball season 2, while Marcelino Pan y Vino  has also replaced Naruto Shippuuden on its timeslot as well. Spongebob is still there at the 9 AM slot.

And that is how you destroy a morning slot.

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Anime on Television: Boon or Bane?

To open up this blog post, I will extract two very beautiful dialogues and scenes from my current series addiction, The Newsroom, on its 7th episode, The first one is where Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) is having a heated debate with Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda), and I am going to link the post from the show’s official page.

 

“We don’t have the trust of the Public Anymore”. A strongly worded statement there, (if you don’t know what the hell Charlie is saying, watch it from the start of Season 1)

 

And this post from one of the lead characters, the ubiquitous Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer)

Now, why do I had to start with those quotes from them? Because Television is a public trust, we all know that. The public trusts television not just because of the news content. The people trusts television because it has been their constant companion ever since. When we were born (well, if you were born post-October 7, 1953), TV has become our ultimate companion. We have been bombarded with the latest news, information and entertainment in our midst. Take note that TV has become our babysitter, mentor (and tormentor), guide, informer, and, most of all, entertainer. Sure the concept of “trust” would only be allowed (and is definitely true) in news and information/factual programming. But do entertainment shows have that same “trust” factor that people behind the scenes also understand?

Personally, yes, There is still that “trust” when it comes to entertainment programming, and in what form does “trust” go in entertainment? Well, a very vague example is you trust ABS-CBN, GMA or TV5 to provide the best teleseryes that will air from morning till night. You trust these three networks to give to you the Korean drama you wanted to watch. And, in our topic. You trust these three networks for the best in Anime. 

Yes, you trust them for the best in Anime. You entrust the networks to at least understand you and air the best anime titles. Whether it was already aired before or even an ongoing series from Japan, you want to trust them to deliver what you really want in terms of anime programming.

But the networks betrayed you because they did not air what you wanted them to air. And you, the viewer, think that the networks has left you, and thus, you lost their trust to them.

It’s the same line I have been hearing and reading since I first became engulfed in the culture in 2004. The networks will never spend foolish company money just for an anime title which will only be watched by a few thousand people, and that is basically true. Anime audiences are a fickle as compared to the k-drama and the primetime and daytime soaps that can reach a mass-based audience. Anime audiences are just a simple niche, as compared to the general audiences that these networks want in effort to get ratings (and revenues) for them to support their business.

Yes, Television is a business, not a charity organization. But it seems that anime fans are taking anime programming more seriously to a level that is already on the “facepalm levels”.

Yes, I do believe that Free TV terrestrial stations must have a semblance of anime programming in their lineups. Ever since GMA introduced the very first anime series on TV, which was Voltes V, It has become a culture, and a part of our lives. (Well, you have to thank Freddie Garcia for that). And if not for an executive who wanted to dub anime in Filipino and some regional languages, the masses (yes, the very same teleserye-loving masses) will never understand what these characters are saying (again, credit that to FMG)

I also do believe that Anime on Free TV should also be the latest anime series from Japan, as evidenced by ABS-CBN’s pilfering of Kuroko’s Basketball which not only topped the Nationals, (the first ever anime series from ABS-CBN to top the national ratings since time immemorial, and even break into the daily Top 20 for a time), but has endeared many people because of its storyline, which connects the audiences well. Not only because of its bishie characters, but because of its story, A story that would make ABS-CBN’s Teleserye writers more like novices in comparison.

But because of the tight financial burden anime has become, No free television channel will ever risk investing a new title and place it on a slot where advertisers lust for it. No one will invest in anime on prime time because hey, it’s more wise to create a 50-million peso teleserye than a let’s say, 10-million peso, 25-episode anime title at 6:00PM. Advertisers are not going to invest on anime simply because Anime is for kids, and what products will they only put in these kinds of programs? Fastfood Toys, Sodas, plus the fact that anime is all to underestimated by a lot of network people!

That is where cable comes in, and as i’d like to say a sports jargon, “No harm, no foul.”

Cable is there to serve that niche. Yes, it is expensive (picture PHP 2000 peso installations and monthly fees ranging from 300 pesos to 2000 pesos/month, that’s why these “anime otakus” who watch on Free TV despise cable)  but it is more effective to program in cable because there is that niche. And cable has two sources of income. The revenue it generates from the operators who are willing to shell out carriage fees per month, and advertiser support. Nowadays, Advertisers are not only banking on Free TV to show their products, with the advent of Cable and Satellite, (to think, we have more cabled and satellite-installed homes today as compared to 10, or even 5 years ago), Advertisers are now more tightly-focused. They now peddle their products to the exact audiences that they want, and that’s how the power of Cable and Satellite can also influence network execs.

Now, let me give you this question: Is Anime on TV a boon or a bane?

My answer, Yes, it’s a boon, but it could also be a bane. It’s a boon for the networks and audiences. It’s a boon for the networks because it is a chance to show them a content which is quite different from the normal fare. It is also a boon for TV programmers to finally get that millennial audiences they are so hard to program with. Just think. Anime is a genre that could connect to a wide array of audiences, audiences that need escape from the regular fare that they always see.

But its a bane too, A bane on the part of networks because of fans being too demanding. A bane on advertisers because it is not a marketable format to put products on, and a bane on those who loved k-dramas and regular local fare because of anime being, “For Kids Only”

Now, would we trust the Networks again to air the best anime programs like “Free”, “Gin no Saji” and “Shingeki no Kyojin” because of these reasons?

And that’s they way it is, Headin’ Out!